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BOOK causes do not reach to one individual more than another,
for they respect the whole kind. But we say upon good grounds, that there are things which are good and evil between man and man. Yes, it may be said, with respect to society, and the common good of the whole. If it be so, then it follows, that it doth not depend upon mere imagination, but that there is a true and just measure in things; for if human society cannot be preserved without justice, and keeping faith and obedience to government, conjugal fidelity, &c. then there is a real tendency in these things to that end, and a repugnancy in the contrary; and if so, then their being good or evil doth not depend upon men's fancies or humours, any more than the taking away fuel doth for lessening a fire, or the adding it doth to the increase of it. For men's indulging their own passions against reason and a common interest, doth as much tend to a civil combustion, as the other to a natural; and men's due government of themselves and actions doth as naturally tend to peace and tranquillity, as withdrawing fuel, or casting water, doth to quench the violence of fire. From whence it appears, that there are real ends as to mankind, which are the measures of good and evil with respect to society. But, besides this, mankind cannot be supposed to subsist without the relations of parents and children: and can any man in his right senses imagine that the duties of these to each other depend only upon fancy? Is there no natural regard due from children to parents ? no natural affection and tenderness in parents to children? Is all this only the product of imagination ? So as to the difference of sexes; chastity, modesty, and a decent regard to each other, are things founded in nature, and do not arise from custom or fancy. But in all these things, although there be a just regulation of them by laws, yet the foundation of them is laid in the nature
and respects of things to one another. As to our own CHAP. bodies, health is not the only measure of good and evil; for it is so uncertain, that those excesses do little prejudice to some, which are mischievous to others : but there is a just proportion of things to be observed with respect to their use; and so intemperance may be consistent with a healthful body. As to the condition of others, who, by reason of poverty or sickness, stand in need of our help, it is a thing in itself good to afford them our assistance; and so liberality, charity, and doing good, are so far from being good only from imagination, that no man can imagine them to be otherwise than good. But, besides all these, there are duties which are owing to that infinite Being from whom we derive all that we enjoy or hope for; and can it be any other than good for us to fear, and serve, and love, and honour him? He confesses, mankind allow that to be good which respects the honour of God; but he means, that it is because we suppose that he made all things for men. But although his goodness and providence be very great reasons for our serving him, yet, if he had been less bountiful to mankind, they had been bound to serve him as their Creator. And it is impossible to suppose that he should discharge his creatures from so necessary a duty, and to make the contrary not to be a fault. For it would imply ingratitude and contempt of the best Being in the world not to be evil: and that he who is infinitely good, should require what is in itself evil. From all which it
From all which it appears, that the nature of good and evil doth not depend upon the arbitrary fancies and opinions of men, but upon the nature of things, the reason of mankind, and the respects they stand in to one another.
And it is a great confirmation of this, that our philosopher himself makes it the same case as to good and
BOOK evil, as it is with respect to order and confusion, and
beauty and deformity, and harmony and discord. For although there may be a variety of fancies as to some degrees of these things, and that may please some which doth not others, yet in the main they all agree in a real difference between them; and none can have so little judgment, as to think that there is nothing but fancy, which puts a difference between a well digested discourse and a confused heap of thoughts ; or between an exact beauty and the picture of deformity; or the most ravishing music and the noise of a pair of tongs. So that the extremes must be allowed to be really different from one another, what difference soever there be in persons' fancies as to what lies between; and yet as to them, when the idea of the thing itself is agreed upon, then the nearer any approach to it, the more it hath of the reality, and the farther off, it doth so much more depend upon fancy,
But, saith he, in our objects of sense we imagine the qualities to be real things without us; whereas they are only the different impressions made upon our senses, and so conveyed to our imaginations. And is this an argument that there is no real difference between bitter and sweet, savoury and unsavoury, or that all sounds are alike? Or that because some have fancied the music of the spheres, therefore there is no such thing as harmony? But such kind of arguing deserves no farther consideration.
I now come to the second hypothesis, which tends towards atheism ; and that is of those who attribute too much to the mechanical powers of matter and motion. It cannot be denied by any ingenuous man, that in our age a great improvement hath been made in natural and experimental philosophy. But there is a great difference to be made between those who have
proceeded in the way of experiments, which do great CHAP. service as they go, and such as have formed mechanical theories of the system of the universe, and have undertaken to give an account how the world was framed, and what the immediate causes are of those things which appear in the world. I do not go about to dispute whether many things are not better resolved by the new than by the old philosophy; I am not concerned in the doctrines of antiperistasis, fuga vacui, occult qualities, intentional species, and such like: and I confess, that the particular histories and experiments relating to things of nature, as to the bodies of animals, the vegetation of plants, and particular qualities, tend much more to the true knowledge of nature, than the mere nice and dry general speculations about forms and qualities; which have been handled in such a manner, that they have been like some of Aristotle's books, set forth, but not to be understood. If therefore several qualities of bodies be explained mechanically, i. e. by virtue of the known affections of matter, viz. size, figure, motion, &c. and that new ones can be produced by changing the texture or motion, or some other mechanical affection of matter, it is far from my design to oppose them, or any such discourses, which tend only to give us more light into the occult nature (though not qualities) of things. For to say that things proceed from occult qualities, is in other words to say that they come from we know not what; and none can take that for a good answer, from one that pretends to give the reason of a thing.
But to proceed more distinctly, I make no difficulty of allowing these following principles, as to the nature and qualities of natural bodies; which are most insist- Mr. Boyle ed upon by a late excellent philosopher, and a truly gin of Christian virtuoso among us.
1. That there is one
of the Ori
BOOK universal matter of bodies; that is, a substance extend
ed, divisible, and impenetrable. 2. That there is a diversity of motion in several parts of matter; so it be not said to be in matter from itself as essential to it; for then it must always move, and there could be no rest, and so no composition. 3. That by virtue of this motion matter is divided into greater and lesser parts, which have their determination, size, and figure. 4. That, besides these, their situation is to be considered; that is, their posture and order with respect to one another : and when the several parts join together to make up one body, that is called the texture of them. 5. That there is a different texture both in our organs of sense, and in the objects which make impressions upon them, with a different motion, figure, and size; from whence arise our different sensations, and our apprehensions of different sensible qualities in things. 6. That, by a coalition of the smaller particles of matter into one body, there are different substances in the world of distinct denominations; but by a change of texture or motion, or other properties of matter, that compound body may be put into a different state, which may be called its alteration or corruption; and if the change be so made as to offend our senses, it is then called putrefaction. 7. That there may be an incomprehensible variety in the coalition and texture of the minute particles of matter, which may be so different from each other, as to be thought to be endued with distinct qualities; as the twenty-four letters make up an inconceivable number of words, by the different placing of them.
But when I have allowed these, I can by no means agree, 1, That there are no other qualities in bodies but what relate to our senses. It is true, we could not be sensible of heat and cold, but from the impressions